Sheep and Goats

By Jim Hatherly

Summary

A monologue based on Matthew 25:31-46, in which the narrator ponders what qualifies a person to be a "sheep" as opposed to a "goat".

Scripture

Matthew 25: 31-46

Script

Sheep. Goats. Sheep. Goats. Sheep. Goats.

Now, which one am I?

Honestly, it is not an easy thing to figure out. Ever since I went to that darn Bible study the other day, I have been hopelessly confused. I thought Jesus was supposed to make things easier, and not more confusing. These darn parables!

You see, it's like this. I went to the Bible study hoping to find the key to eternal life. The right path to walk, you know.

I even brought along my Mom's old King James Bible. I figured, heck, if that was the one she used, and she was a very god-fearing and righteous woman, then surely her Bible would put me in good stead with the big You-Know-Who.

You know what? It didn't help a bit. So, I asked this nice woman next to me if I could share hers and she said that was OK. She told me the language would be less confusing. Good, I thought. Now we were getting somewhere.

What they were studying turned out to be a lesson about sheep and goats. Go figure. I thought Jesus was a carpenter. You know, straight lines and cut off points, angles and design. A draft of what the reign of God was like. Do this, follow that blueprint. Got it make. - wrong!

He tells this parable about people who come before the throne of God at the last day and they line up and God is there as some kind of shepherd. And God is doing this separating thing with the animals. Sheep (those are the good guys in the story) over here. Goats (you guessed it, the ones who did everything wrong) over there.

OK fine, so God is a shepherd. I can live with that.

Anyway it turns out there is a big test. It has to do with what you did with your life. And how you lived out your faith. Cool, I thought. I was always pretty good at tests in school. I'll try this one out.

But here's how the test goes… God is incognito. I had to look that one up. It means God is invisible. Like we didn't know that, right? But not only is God invisible, but God is hiding, sort of, in other people. Now that's cool, too. Neat approach.

But where? Here's the secret. Seems God is hiding in places you'd never expect. And not only that, but you have to find God and do something. I figured, heck, this is like a big scavenger hunt. Go find God, do something, and check off your list. Then you're in.

Just in case you don't know, I'll let you in on the clues…
I was hungry and you gave me food, God says.
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.
I was a stranger and you welcomed me.
I was naked and you clothed me.
I was sick and you took care of me.
I was in prison and you visited me.

So, when I got home I jotted down the list. Then I went out and started the big scavenger hunt. I figured I should be done in no time, then I could just coast.

First item on the list - God is hungry. Feed God. So I went to the store and bought a can of beans and looked for someone to give it to, hoping like blazes that I wasn't going to waste it on someone who wasn't God. Or Jesus. Well, you know what I mean.

I went downtown and hung around a soup kitchen for a while. And I'll tell you, I did not find God. Lots of people, but for goodness sake they were already feeding each other. They had food, sandwiches and soup and coffee. Some of the people who had finished their meal were getting up and helping behind the counter, serving others in line. They even asked me if I wanted to have some lunch, or to help feed the others. Nope, I figured, I was just wasting my time. No sign of God there. I went home and ate the beans. Next item - God is thirsty. Give drink. After I finished my beans I went to find someone to water. This was extremely difficult. I walked up and down Henderson Highway for an hour holding a glass of water in my hand, looking for God. No takers. Finally, I went to Tim Horton's to get a cup of coffee. God wasn't there, either.

But I did notice a strange thing. This woman came in, anxious, worried, like something really bad had happened. The clerk behind the counter starts talking with her. She told her that she needed to hang in there. That things would get better. She told the woman that she would pray for her. And then, get this, she took a loonie out of her own purse and bought the woman a cup of coffee. Go figure. I mean those clerks don't get much of a salary there. Just wasting her salary, as far as I could see. Anyway, I didn't find God.

I reckoned I wasn't doing so well on this list. I took the bus home and sat beside this stranger. Sort of an odd-looking fellow. He kept mumbling about how unfriendly this city is. How nobody cares. Nobody even says hello. Well, buddy, small wonder, when you keep that kind of attitude!

Funny thing about that fellow, I thought, he didn't have anything on his hands, and it was cold! Doesn't he know he should take care of himself? O well, go figure. Always be positive, I said to myself. I put my gloves on and got off the bus. Still looking for God.

Got home, exhausted. Frustrated. Then the phone rang. Wouldn't you know it? It wasn't God. Not even close! It was my cousin, Gerry. He'd fallen at work. He was in the hospital with a broken ankle. Could I drop by his house and get him a clean pair of underwear and his toothbrush? Well, I thought, Gerry old boy, you've probably been into the sauce again and you are exactly where you deserve to be. I told him I had to go to a Bible study at church and maybe I could come by later. Tomorrow at the earliest. I tell you, you give that guy an inch. Who does he think he is, God?

I turned on the TV before going to the Bible study. What a mistake! News. News. News. All bad. One of the items was about some political prisoners in some third world country being held in horrendous conditions. Then some piece about some do-gooders trying to get people to write to the government of that country to get these folks released. Seems they are likely to get tortured or 'disappeared', whatever that means. Flipped the channel to reruns of Charlie's Angels. Now that's entertainment! And all that hair!

Anyhoo, I'm on my way back to that old Bible study again. Let's just hope they have something I can really get my teeth into - you know, something where God is really real. Where God tells you what to do, and when to do it. I'll tell you, looking for God out there is not that easy. Honestly, you can't tell a sheep from a goat! Can you tell the difference?

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© Jim Hatherly, all rights reserved. The script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author. This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: jamhat@mts.net